Ultimate Guide: Copywriting For Beginners

copywriting for beginners

Today, you’ll discover the simple copywriting for beginners tips and secrets to help you get started as a new copywriter. Here’s why:

Copywriting is one of the most in-demand skills today.

Why?

Because all businesses can benefit greatly from good copywriting.

From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies and others in between.

Copywriting can make or break an organization.

And the thing is,

Anybody can become a copywriter.

You don’t need a degree or any special training.

So, whether you are looking to become a copywriter, or are just looking to improve copy for your business, this guide will be your blueprint.

What is copywriting?

Copywriting means writing words for marketing purposes.

Its main purpose is to sell your product and services while establishing a voice for your brand. (Whether it is to buy something, make a phone call, or sign up for a newsletter.)

But copywriting is more than just words.

Great copy tells a compelling story and represents your brand image.

It tugs at the heartstrings and triggers the decision-making process of the reader.

This is why it is very important to master your copywriting skills today more than ever.

Below are 10 simple elements that will take your copywriting game from meh to magnificent.

10 Elements of great copywriting for beginners

What makes your sales copy effective?

As someone who has been writing copy for over seven years, I know what it takes to succeed in this space.

Some simple elements can take an average copy to the next level where it brings in loads of new customers.

As a beginner, these are the top elements of great copywriting beginners should focus on.

1. Grammatically sound

There’s nothing that kills a copy more than grammatical errors.

It makes your copy look amateurish and weak.

And this can make your reader lose interest.

When your readers find any error in your copy, it gives them a negative perception of your brand.

But no one is perfect.

And if you write lots of copy, (at least 2000 words), there’s bound to be one or two mistakes.

That’s forgivable.

But a spelling error on your homepage or email that is just a few lines will be much more pronounced.

Therefore, ignore the urge to rush through this process.

Get an editing software and run your text through it to pinpoint areas where you might have misspelled some words.

Read it out loud.

Double and triple-check it before it goes out.

You can use Grammarly to automatically check your copy.

It underlines bad grammar in your copy so it is much easier to see the error and fix it.

If you use Google Docs, in the menu section, under tools, click on Spelling and Grammer and it will scan through your copy and show you areas where you need to make corrections.

But, if you are writing a sales page, where you may have to use lingo and slang, you can ignore some corrections from Grammarly.

2. Persuasion

Great copy should be persuasive.

Write in a way that convinces the reader to take a specific action.

Tell them why they should sign up for your newsletter or buy your product or service.

Understand that you are not selling a particular product or service, you are selling how the product will benefit the reader.

For instance, you are not selling life insurance, you are selling protection.

You are not selling a Rolex watch, you are selling a lifestyle.

Locate the emotions you are trying to trigger from your reader and find the right words that will spark those feelings to get the most out of your copy.

3. Jargon-Free

This is a bit different when it comes to the type of copy you are writing.

If you are writing a blog post, no jargon.

But if you are writing a direct response sales copy to a particular niche; let’s assume you are writing to the technology industry where they use some language that the layman might not understand, you can use it.

This shows you know the audience in-depth.

But if you are writing to the public, meaning anybody can read your copy, then leave industry-specific terms out of your copy.

If you are a lawyer and your copy is tailored to the public, someone without any legal training should be able to understand what you are talking about.

If you are a doctor, ensure your copy can be understood by people outside of the medical field.

Avoid slang and acronyms when writing to the public.

It is normally perceived as unprofessional (Unless it is part of your brand image and tailored only to the audience of that industry), and you cannot assume everyone is familiar with the acronyms you are using.

Great copywriters are notorious for being able to take a complex subject and write it in a way a fifth grader will understand.

4. Strong Call-To-Action (CTA)

Talking about your brand, product or service is only half the battle.

You also have to leave your audience with a clear direction of action.

What do you want your copy to achieve?

It should be clear to whoever is reading it.

If the copy aims to get people to buy something, make sure the message has been conveyed.

Your readers should not be left wondering what to do.

Write a strong CTA that drives conversion.

5. SEO Friendly

This particular element is mainly for website copy.

It’s important to write copy that is SEO-friendly.

Use keywords that will make your pages rank high in search engine page results.

Many factors go into creating high-ranking content; keywords are just one of them.

And while SEO-friendly content is good, it won’t make or break your business.

Therefore, don’t force your keywords if they will only hurt your copy.

6. Direct

Great copy goes straight to the point and does not beat around the bush.

You should be able to relay your message concisely; using as few words as possible.

Use short sentences, short paragraphs, and simple words, and avoid “fluff” or “filler” phrasing.

Learn how to write copy that goes straight to the point.

If you use long sentences, it’s easier for the reader to get distracted and lost when reading.

7. Captivating lead

Great copy starts with a captivating lead.

Whether it is a headline, subheader, email subject line, or introductory phrases.

Whatever your lead is, find a way to capture the attention of your readers.

Use action words.

You could start by using a number, an enticing fact or you could state statistics.

The job of the headline is to get the reader to read the first line.

The purpose of the first line is to get the reader to read the second line.

And the job of the second line is to get the reader to read… you guessed it… the third line.

You get the point.

This means if your lead does not captivate your reader, the rest of your copy will be useless.

8. Channel specific

Whatever copy you choose to write, make sure you write it with an understanding of how it will be consumed.

Always be aware of the distribution channel of what you are writing and adjust accordingly.

9. Audience awareness

You MUST have a clear understanding of who will be reading your copy.

A person on your homepage may not be familiar with your brand.

But an email subscriber already knows who you are.

So you won’t necessarily have to introduce yourself and share your brand story in every email campaign.

That’s a waste of valuable text, and the repetitive nature can quickly lose the attention of your audience.

Create a copy that’s appealing to your specific niche.

Don’t try to target everyone.

A business that sells surfboards and skateboards doesn’t have the same audience as a B2B SaaS company.

Know the difference.

10. Concise understanding of the offering

It’s a common mistake for beginner copywriters to dive directly into the writing process.

But you shouldn’t start writing a single word until you have a firm grasp of the product, service, brand, or offer. 

Let’s say get hired by a business to create landing page copy.

Depending on the complexity of the offering, it could take you hours or days before you would even consider writing anything.

If you don’t have a clear understanding of the offer, you can’t convey that message to another person.

And even if you manage to write something without knowing who you are writing to, that copy will flop massively.

10 Copywriting for beginners formulas

If you are a beginner copywriter, here are formulas to make the process easier.

Use this copywriting for beginners formulas as a quick template to create compelling copy.

1. FAB Formula

This is one of the most basic copywriting strategies that you can follow.

Instead of only listing the features of the product or service, you need to find ways to highlight the results and what the user will get.

  • Features — What are you offering?
  • Advantages — How does it help solve a problem or make things better?
  • Benefits — What does the reader get out of this?

The FAB formula is perfect for copies related to products or services.

2. BAB Formula

The BAB formula is ideal for storytelling. It’s designed to identify pain points being felt by the reader.

  • Before — This is what your life is like now.
  • After — This is how you’ll feel once the problem has been solved.
  • Bridge — This is how you get there.

We saw some copy earlier in this guide from Basecamp as a “good example” that follows the BAB formula.

3. The 4 P’s Formula

  • Picture — Grab the reader’s attention by painting a picture that creates desire.
  • Promise — Explain how the offering delivers that desire.
  • Prove — Use evidence to support that promise.
  • Push — Convince the reader to commit.

The 4 P’s formula takes a unique approach to conversions.

This type of copy gets the reader to commit by proving that you can deliver a promise.

4. The 4 U’s Formula

  • Useful — How can you help the reader?
  • Urgent — Create a sense of urgency.
  • Unique — Explain how the benefits can’t be found elsewhere.
  • Ultra-specific — Don’t be vague.

The 4 U’s formula works well for advertisements or social media copy.

Find ways to create a sense of urgency, like FOMO, as an emotional trigger that gets the reader to act quickly.

5. The 4 C’s Formula

  • Clear — Make sure your copy is as clear as possible.
  • Concise — Keep it short and to the point.
  • Compelling — Spark some interest and irresistibly grab attention.
  • Credible — Explain why the reader should trust your product, service, or brand.

These are just general best practices that should be followed with all of your copies.

Regardless of the length, goal, or distribution channel, the 4 C’s are ideal for beginners to prioritize.

6. ACCA Formula

  • Awareness — Identify the problem or situation at hand.
  • Comprehension — Explain how the problem affects the reader.
  • Conviction — Persuade the reader to follow your solution.
  • Action — End with a strong call to action.

Compared to the other formulas on our list, the ACCA formula is different because of the “comprehension” phase.

It’s your job to give the reader a deeper understanding of the problem and solution.

Tell people what’s happening and how it affects them before diving into the CTA.

7. “So What?” Formula

The idea behind this formula is simple.

Every time you make a statement, ask yourself, “so what?” This forces you to explain the benefits in greater detail.

Our agency creates the best website content!

So what?

So we can help you generate more traffic, drive conversions, and rank higher in SERPs.

The first part of that copy isn’t useful without the “so what” aspect.

8. OATH Formula

The OATH formula forces you to write audience-specific copy.

It can help you write unique copy based on the reader’s market awareness of your brand, product, or service.

  • Oblivious — The reader has no clue about your brand or offer.
  • Apathetic — They are aware of you but uninterested or indifferent.
  • Thinking — The reader has identified a potential need.
  • Hurting — They have a problem that desperately needs to be solved.

As you can see, the copy should be written differently depending on which stage of OATH you’re trying to target.

9. PAS Formula

  • Problem — Identify the problem at hand.
  • Agitate — Explain the negative impact of having this problem.
  • Solve — Offer a solution.

The PAS formula goes beyond just identifying a problem.

It invokes fear in the reader by explaining what could happen to them if the problem isn’t solved.

10. The “Objections” Formula

Write copy that addresses common objections a reader could have with your offering.

  • Don’t have time? It takes just 15 minutes.
  • Don’t have money? We offer to finance.
  • It won’t work for you? Here’s our money-back guarantee.
  • Don’t believe me? Here are statistics to back up our claims.

Tips to improve your copywriting

The best way to improve your copywriting skills is to practice.

Every single copy you write will not be the best but with time, you will get better.

In your copy, be conversational.

Write as you talk.

Spend more time researching and planning than you do writing.

And if you are still struggling, use any of the formulas above to guide you.

The Complete Copywriting Course

Maku Seun is a freelance copywriter and Direct Response Marketer. He helps digital marketers, coaches, and course creators boost sales by writing compelling sales letters for their products and services. If you’d him to write a sales letter for your business, click here.

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